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Will This Be China’s Century?: A Skeptic’s View

Mel Gurtov
Will This Be China’s Century?: A Skeptic’s View
ISBN: 978-1-58826-898-3
ISBN: 978-1-58826-874-7
ISBN: 978-1-62637-455-3
2013/205 pages/LC: 2012041549
"Gurtov ... offers a measured assessment of China's global influence, writing concisely about the extent of China's development over recent decades, but also highlighting real challenges and weaknesses."—Tim Summers, International Affairs

"In recent decades, scores of books have been written about China and US-China relations. This book is surely among the best."—Michael Marien,

"A crisp and insightful meditation on the implications of a rising China."—John Delury, Global Asia

"A research-rich, cogent skeptic's challenge to the premise of many China scholars."—Choice

"Mel Gurtov’s wide-ranging and user-friendly survey of China's resurgence and US-China interdependence deflates claims of an emerging Chinese hegemony.... Noting that the US-China bond is the world's most important bilateral relationship, Gurtov challenges both nations to create a framework for common security that can reverse growing militarism and permit all nations to focus on the real challenges in the new century: overcoming poverty, violence, inequality and environmental destruction."—Mark Selden, Binghamton University

"Gurtov offers an Olympian perspective on China's place in world politics. His book is a gem."—Dali Yang, University of Chicago

"More than any other book, Mel Gurtov's Will This Be China’s Century? offers an eye-opening and mind-expanding window into both the contentious 'China’s rise' debates and the complex and changing nature of China-US relations. The empirical richness and theoretical clarity of the multilayered analysis reflects Gurtov's lifetime study of Chinese foreign policy, US foreign policy, and global politics.... This book is essential reading for students of Chinese foreign policy and international relations, as well as for an attentive public interested in the shaping of a new post–Cold War global order."—Samuel S. Kim, Columbia University


Mel Gurtov takes issue with the widespread view that China is on the way to rivaling or even displacing the United States as the dominant world power.

Gurtov identifies serious constraints that will keep the country's leadership focused for the foreseeable future on challenges at home. Arguing that China's economic rise has exacerbated problems of social inequality, environmental degradation, official corruption, and more—and that its military capabilities and ambitions are far more limited than many observers have suggested—he makes a strong case that the most productive US policy will be one of engagement on issues of common concern, rather than confrontation or containment.


Mel Gurtov is professor emeritus of political science at Portland State University and editor in chief of the journal Asian Perspective. His numerous publications include Global Politics in the Human Interest (also published in Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese), Superpower on Crusade: The Bush Doctrine in US Foreign Policy, and Pacific Asia? Prospects for Security and Cooperation in East Asia.


  • Exploring the "Century" Issue.
  • Interpreting China's Rise.
  • Evaluating China's Place in the World.
  • China's Reach.
  • China's "Good Citizenship."
  • Feet of Clay.
  • The United States by Default?
  • Whose Century?
  • Toward Sino-US Reengagement.
  • Reassessing the China Challenge.
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